Have you or do you have pain in your upper back and neck? Do you get migraines? These could all be caused by what they are calling Tech Neck. This is a curvature of the cervical spine caused by looking down. It could be caused by texting, computer work, knitting, crafting, and so on. This can be serious and cause serious pain. However there are exercises and modifications of your daily habits that can help tremendously! Please watch the three videos below. The first one is just funny and brings awareness to the issue. The second one shows x-rays and speaks to a real person who is having issues. The third is short but has a super quick and easy exercise that you can do anywhere and anytime.
Do you have areas that you wish were more toned, smaller or more defined? We all do. I do. We all seem to look in the mirror and see only these areas. “If I could just get rid of this (pinching off the so called muffin top)” Let’s tackle em’.
But first, I would like you to take a second to think about this in a few different ways.
1. Do you understand that it is not possible to change the appearance of your body by just strengthening the muscles. Fat must be burned off to reveal strengthened muscles. Therefore, all the crunches in the world are not going to give you a 6pack. Repeat that again! Diet, cardiovascular exercise, strength training, age, genetics, and overall heath, and health history are all going to contribute to the look of your body. Think about it as a whole package deal to decrease body fat, strengthen and tone, and feel good!
2. So that being said; is your goal realistic?
3. Are you trying to look like someone who is not even close to your body type? Some of our bodies are not capable of looking like Beyonce or the extreme opposite might be Carmen Diaz. Do you see what I mean? It might be good to look back and find a picture of you at a size that you felt good at. STOP COMPARING YOUR SELF TO OTHER WOMEN! You are beautiful and it’s about getting healthy, strong, and looking good in your body, not like someone else.
4. Are you decreasing fat in other areas? The body does not always lose it in the places we want first. However, eventually it does have to go from somewhere. So maybe it’s just a matter of hanging in there.
5. Is this area truthfully not as strong as could be?
This is where I’d like to give you exercises that you can do to target a real “Trouble Zone”. To me this is an area that is either not strong or not properly activating so that you can perform well on other exercises.
Do you know the areas of your body that are not as strong?
Does your lower back curve more than normal?
Do your shoulders round forward?
Do you feel your gluteus maximus and medius (Butt Muscles) when you squat or lunge?
This is sometimes a sign that your abdominal muscles and your glutes are weak or not properly firing.
This can make you not as strong when you do planks or when you do exercises such as lunges and squats. These exercises are critical to your strength routine. So what can you do? One way to figure this out is just to Take a look.
If your lower back curve looks a bit like the picture than it is quite possible that your abdominal muscles are not as strong as they could be and/or your glutes are not working properly.
Try this exercise: The Wall Crunch
It looks easy. But if you do it right, it’s tough!
Gently press your hands into the wall.
Tilt your hips so that your lower back is moving towards the floor and your belly button is pulling toward your spine. Abs intensely contracted.
Slowly extend one leg at a time. Try for 30 of these.
You should not be able to talk if you are doing it right.
In addition to strengthening your abs, your glutes will also help you to tilt your pelvis. This will not only improve the appearance of your body but strong butt muscles also help you perform better when you do lunges and squats and we all know (or should) that they are the best exercises for burning calories and strengthening the lower body!
Place your feet onto a chair. (notice the 90 degree angle)
Push your hips up and squeeze your glutes (butt muscles)
You can make this harder by doing one leg at a time or easier by placing feet on the floor.
So what about those shoulders? Are they rounding forward? Probably! 90% of the people that come to me do this.
It doesn’t look nice, it’s horrible for your shoulder health and it makes many exercises harder; push ups, overhead press…
The Band Buster:
Hold the band with palms up.
Without bending your elbows, pull out until your hands are almost out to shoulders.
Squeeze your shoulder blades down and together.
Feel how beautiful your posture is after this exercise!
Do these exercises 2-3 times a week, 2-3 sets each to improve your trouble zones. You may also want to check out my article on foam rolling. Tight muscles are another factor to consider. This will have to be the topic of another blog.
Keep that whole realistic picture in your mind throughout the week so that you can start seeing the body that you want!
What you put into your mouth, how often you move, how much sleep, how stressed you are….you know what I’m saying.
Do you find yourself running out of time for strength workouts? Turn your run into a toning workout too! It’s efficient and super fun!
Rock out with these outdoor workouts!
1. Go for a run or hike.
Start at the top of the bar. Hold your self up. Then
slowly lower yourself down. Jump up and do it again!
Aim for 5. These are guaranteed to make you sore!
Start in plank position with your ankles on the swing.
Contract your abs to slowly bring yourself into the pike.
Slowly lower back to plank and repeat. Aim for 12-20.
4. STRETCH! (I know you were going to skip this part)
Check out the Momentum facebook page,each week I will post a new strength exercise that can be done with things you’ll find at playground and park.
1. Go for a run or walk or at least warm up for about 5 minutes.
*You can combine the first 2 with these 2 exercises and you’ll hit your back, biceps, core, and backside all in one fast workout!
Keep your body straight like a plank.
Pull yourself up until your elbows reach your sides.
The lower you go the harder it gets.
Place heels in the swing so that your legs form a 90 degree angle.
Lift hips up by squeezing your butt muscles.
Push down into the swing with heels as opposed to out.
Hold for 1 second at the top, then lower and repeat.
4. As always STRETCH!
1. Go for a run or walk or at least warm up for about 5 minutes.
*You can combine the first 4 with these 2 exercises and you’ll hit your back, biceps, core, backside, triceps, and thighs all in one fast workout!
Hands wider than shoulder width.
Lower your chest toward the edge of the table and then push back up explosively. Clap your hands.
Keep your core super strong. Do as many as you can.
3. Place right foot on the seat of the picnic table. ———————————————>>>
Push through the right heel to step onto the seat. Slowly lower down.
Do as many as you can. Then switch to your left leg and repeat.
4. Stretch! We lose flexibility as we age so you have to stretch to stay active and limber!
Rows are such a great exercise for your back. We need to keep our backs strong and healthy. In today’s world we are constantly put into a forward hunch position; all that driving, computer work, reading, don’t forget about your posture during texting!
Hook your band around a pole, around your feet, around your husband, or use a door anchor if you have one. Hold the handles so that your palms are facing in. Pull the band back by driving your elbows past your torso while bringing your shoulder blades together and down. Slowly release the band forward and repeat. Be sure that you have enough resistance to get a good burn by around 15-20 repetitions.
Superman/Superwoman: Lying on the mat on your stomach raise legs and arms off the ground. Contract your lower back, glutes, and in between your shoulder blades. Keep your gaze looking down to protect your neck. Hold for about 30-60 seconds then lower.
This is an important exercise for almost everyone. Everyday life is full of activities (or lack of) that involve hunching forward. These include driving, using the computer, and watching television. Which can cause the muscles in the front of your body to become stronger than the ones in the back (the hunch). Resulting in rounded shoulders and upper back. Not only is this posture unattractive but it can cause back pain and shoulder injuries. Therefore exercises to strengthen the back side of our bodies is very important. Superman/woman is an excellent exercise to practice 1-2 times per week on non-consecutive days to help counter this phenomenon that almost all of experience.